Sheffield Wednesday: Ex-Owls loan ace eyes comeback

Ben Marshall will hope to play against the Owls
Ben Marshall will hope to play against the Owls

WEDNESDAY will have to play a guessing game before they know whether they will be up against Ben Marshall from the start of tomorrow’s game at Leicester.

The former Owls loan star was omitted from Nigel Pearson’s side for the home 1-1 draw with Leeds on Tuesday and went on as a sub for the last half hour.

Marshall was not expected to play when the Foxes visited Hillsborough in November, but play he did, and he scored on his first return to the ground.

It was a trademark effort as he cut inside and curled a shot into the far corner - the second goal in a convincing 2-0 victory for his team.

The £1m winger did not celebrate, out of respect for the fans to whom he was a hero during his Wednesday loan spell last season.

The wide roles in the Leicester side against Leeds on Tuesday were filled by Anthony Knockaert, a recognised winger, and Harry Kane, who is on loan from Spurs and is better known as a striker.

Marshall replaced Knockaert after an hour.

Leicester salvaged a point with an injury-time equaliser from Michael Keane, a 20-year-old centre half who is on loan from Manchester United.

That result came after a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich last Saturday.

The Foxes are fifth, looking a safe bet to finish in the top six, but eight points below second-placed Watford after a lean run.

Pearson’s comments ahead of the Leeds game are just as relevant now as he keeps his sights on automatic promotion.

“There is an awful long way to go and I am a realist,” said the former Owls captain. “I know we have quite a bit of work to do but I have a very strong belief in staff and players, and that’s how you deal with it.

“We have lost a bit of ground but, with the number of games we have left and the belief we have in ourselves, I think it is important to concentrate on what we can affect moving forward.

“We are focused on trying to get things right and we want to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.”

Leicester have taken only five points from their last six games, with three defeats coming against Peterborough, Charlton and Ipswich, They also lost at home to Huddersfield in the FA Cup, during the same period.

The front two against Leeds were David Nugent and Chris Wood, who was signed from West Brom in January after starring on loan for Millwall.

Wood cost £1.25m, rising to £2m with possible add-ons. He has scored nine goals for Leicester, including six in his first three games and a hat-trick at Bristol City.

A haul of three in his last seven games is a relatively lean time for the 21-year-old who already has an impressive tally for the season of 20 goals, including those he scored for Millwall.

Owls fan Jamie Vardy may not in the team this time: the £1m summer signing from Fleetwood played in the Hillsborough game.

Leicester could have a problem at left back. Paul Koncheski stayed off at half time of the Leeds game with a hamstring problem, and winger Lloyd Dyer had to play at full back.

Striker Jeff Schlupp has deputised for Koncheski in the past but has been training at Manchester United with a view to a move.